Peter has immense experience in inquests and coronial law, having spent over 20 years representing coroners and interested persons, from bereaved families to government departments, including the MOJ and the MOD.
He has undertaken many complex and high-profile inquests involving unlawful killing, national security, state detention, health and safety, and medical or psychiatric treatment. Several of these cases have involved hearings in the High Court, Divisional Court and Court of Appeal.
Peter is presently acting for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in the inquests into the deaths of the victims of serial killer Stephen Port; and for the tram operator in the inquests arising from the Croydon tram derailment in 2016. Between 2016 and 2019 he was counsel to the inquests into the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings and the sudden death of the Russian businessman Alexander Perepilichnyy.
Peter has a particular interest in inquests that engage the state’s responsibilities under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, ‘the right to life’. In 2014 and 2015, he was invited by the Chief Coroner to provide a series of lectures on this subject to the coroners of England and Wales.
“Very knowledgeable, excellent in court and on paper.” “His grasp of detail is extraordinary and he is able to distil large volumes of documents into a series of simple propositions for witnesses. His style of questioning is relaxed yet forensic and precise.” (Chambers & Partners 2021)
‘His written work and advocacy are impeccable, and his manner in hearings is just right.’ (Legal 500 2021)
“He has a real mastery of the factual detail and is superb at assimilating material and evidence and getting on top of it all.” “He’s the most relaxed advocate I’ve ever seen; he’s very gentle with witnesses but always gets his point across even when it’s very difficult.” “He’s almost flawless in court: completely fluid and sensible. He doesn’t take bad points and when he has a good one he puts it across efficiently and persuasively.” (Chambers & Partners 2020)
‘He has a relaxed bedside manner that hides a ruthless streak that cuts to the core of any issue.’ (Legal 500 2019)
“He’s very bright, effective and has a very nice, laid-back manner in court.” “He is a really superb public lawyer.” (Chambers & Partners 2019)
‘He can plot the way through complex issues and his knowledge of coronial law is superb.’ (Legal 500 2018)
“A confident advocate and good communicator.” (Legal 500 2017)
“He comes up with novel ideas, provides a realistic and sensible evaluation of cases and deals with difficult clients well. He just navigates the course through.” “Great on his feet, thinks quickly, sharp as a razor and very articulate.” (Chambers & Partners 2017)
“Simply excellent.” (Legal 500 2016)
- Stephen Port Inquests
- Croydon Tram Inquests
- Birmingham Inquests (1974)
- Coroner for Birmingham Inquests (1974) v Hambleton  EWCA Civ 2081.
- Alexander Perepilichnyy Inquest
- Secretary of State for the Home Department v HM Senior Coroner for Surrey  EWHC 3001 (Admin),  4 WLR 191.
- Alice Gross Inquest.
- Brecon Beacons Inquest.
- In Amenas Inquest.
- Coagh Inquest (Northern Ireland).
Peter Skelton QC appointed as a Deputy High Court Judge - Aug 2021
Chief Coroner provides useful guidance for how coroners should approach findings of fact and conclusions at inquests - Apr 2021
Divisional Court clarifies court’s approach to applications for fresh inquests - Apr 2021
Hear from Peter Skelton QC at Evershed & Sutherlands webinar: The Practical Guide to Public Inquiries - Nov 2020
Undercover Policing Inquiry’s hearings begin today - Nov 2020
Inquests in Interesting Times Webinar - Jun 2020
LawPod UK Ep. 111: Covid-19 and Inquests with Peter Skelton QC - May 2020
Is this too sensitive? Dealing with difficult issues in Inquests and Inquiries - Oct 2019
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse publish investigation report into Accountability and Reparations - Sep 2019
Peter Skelton QC appointed Counsel for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police at the Undercover Policing Inquiry - Sep 2019
Peter Skelton QC in hearing of claim by child of an undercover police officer - May 2019
The Birmingham Pub Bombings Inquest concludes - Apr 2019
The Birmingham Pub Bombings Inquest opens - Feb 2019
Inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy concludes - Dec 2018
The Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation is at an end - Nov 2018
Guy Mansfield QC upholds Kenya Emergency Group Litigation judgment in Court of Appeal - Oct 2018
Peter Skelton QC, Matthew Hill and Gideon Barth successful in Court of Appeal inquests challenge - Sep 2018
Peter Skelton QC, Matthew Hill and Gideon Barth in Court of Appeal inquests challenge - Jul 2018
1COR Public Law Seminar – Life, Liberty & Security - Sep 2017
Peter Skelton QC and Robert Wastell, Leanne Woods instructed as counsel for the inquest into Mr Perepilichnyy’s death - Apr 2017
Profits from the sale of the Inquest Book given to the Bar Pro Bono Unit - Nov 2016
Birmingham bombings inquest to be reopened - Jun 2016
Birmingham Coroner hears application to re-open inquests into the 1974 IRA Birmingham Pub bombings - Feb 2016
‘Six of the Best!’ 6 members appointed Queen’s Counsel - Jan 2016
1COR quiz team wins the Leigh Day / Silverlining Brain Injury Charity Quiz night - Feb 2015
New appointments to the Attorney General’s A and C Panels - Feb 2014
4 members of 1COR in the Kenyan Mau Mau Case - Jun 2013
Nine members of 1COR involved in Al-Sweady Public Inquiry - Mar 2013
New Appointments to the Attorney General’s A, B and C Panels – February 2013 - Feb 2013
One Crown Office Row instructed on Jimmy Savile claims - Feb 2013
Members of 1COR acted in the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust Public Inquiry - Feb 2013
Members of One Crown Office Row acted in the Leveson Inquiry - Nov 2012
Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel QC, Henry Witcomb and Peter Skelton are representing women who were wrongly diagnosed with breast cancer by Ian Paterson - Nov 2012
Lizanne Gumbel QC, Justin Levinson and Peter Skelton are instructed to act on behalf of sexual abuse victims of Jimmy Savile - Oct 2012
Peter Skelton acting for the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime in the Leveson Inquiry - May 2012
New Appointments to the Attorney General’s A, B and C Panels – February 2012 - Feb 2012
Peter Skelton in Supreme Court case on closed material procedure - Jul 2011
Peter Skelton joins One Crown Office Row - Nov 2010